Time for a Garden Party - Flowers and Food!

Time for a Garden Party - Flowers and Food!

Gardeners just love to share. Whether it’s a geranium cutting, a pack of seeds or just a “come enjoy my roses”, gardeners just like to share the beauty….it’s half the fun of growing things!

Our deck is surrounded by the miniature climbing rose Jeanne Lajoie. It’s a huge plant with mini flowers in a beautiful soft pink. I have three and I’d love more! The long canes need support and are best tied to a trellis or some kind of structure since they get very heavy with blooms which put on a spectacular show!

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I really wanted to share  the beautiful show my roses put on each spring with someone besides my long-suffering hubby who gives the obligatory…”Oh, yeah, nice!” (hey, I’m not complaining..he digs in the manure and builds the beds!) I invited all my office buddies over for a garden party luncheon. Since I have Monday off and they’re all together at the office I picked that day so I could prepare things ahead. So, what goes into a garden party that must be planned ahead, prepared and then served in a 45 minute time frame?

The night before I cut all the roses I needed, left long stems and plunged them into buckets of warm water to sit on the porch and “condition”  overnight.  My grandmother taught me to do this and I also learned it in  flowering arranging classes I’ve taken. And, it works! Flowers conditioned this way will last longer in the vase. Be sure to cut the stems just seconds before putting them in water since air can enter the cut and block absorption. I also pulled out all the vases I planned to use and made sure they were sparkling clean and ready to use. (I’m sure you never put them away with dried leaves and water stains but, well, sometimes I’m just in too big a hurry to clean them properly…a little vinegar in the water and a drop of dish soap and they’ll shine!

First thing in the morning I trimmed the stems and began the arrangements. White Iceberg roses practically make an arrangement by themselves and are my #1 favorites. Hardly any thorns so they’re easy to prune and one branch fills a vase.

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The pink rose is a hybrid tea called “Pink Promise” and was a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research which I support wholeheartedly having had breast cancer five years ago. It’s a strong, very tall, disease resistant plant with tons of long stem, single blooms…really a nice one!

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I don’t know the name of this old fashioned rose but it’s soft pink color and full blooms make up for the black spot and rust we have to fight.


Each place setting had a tiny bud vase with the Jeanne Lajoie roses for beauty and a mini carnation for fragrance…they really brighten up the table.


Once I decided on decoration I picked out a menu of Tortellini Salad (recipe to follow) crusty bread, fresh fruit and chocolate dipped strawberries. Quick and easy! We had a nice lunch, a nice visit and did it all in a 45 minute lunch break! Might be fun to have a quick lunch to share your garden with friends!

I had this tortellini salad at a wedding shower and got the recipe from the hostess who said the recipe originally came from “Perfect Party Food” by Diane Phillips. The dressing is so good I planted a wine barrel with the oregano, rosemary and chives  I need to make it!


 Tortellini  Salad

 Cook ¾ pound fresh or dried cheese tortellini till just done ( I like the dried tortellini from          Trader Joes)

 Rinse tortellini and add:

1 jar green olives

1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved

 ¼ C. chopped chives


½ C. Extra virgin olive oil

¼ C. golden balsamic vinegar

1 t. dried rosemary (or 2 t. fresh chopped)

½ t. dried oregano (or l t. fresh chopped)

1 minced clove garlic

½ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

Toss together and Enjoy! Best if made at least a few hours ahead so flavors can meld…enjoy!

Serves 4